3nd Sunday of ADVENT – B                                                                      


Dear friends in Christ,


              On this Third Sunday of Advent the Church takes St. Paul’s words and calls us: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Zephaniah the prophet explains why: “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior.”

              What is joy and how can we cultivate it? 

              Paul’s letter from prison points out the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness generally depends on the quality and the quantity of material goods from the outside. It comes from the inside; it can be found even in the midst of deprivation or suffering. Joy has not much to do with what is going on in the material world. It doesn’t always happen when we get what we want. The only condition for joy is the profound belief that God will have the last word. It is the inner sense of God’s presence and his love for us.

John the Baptist preached repentance but it was for the only reason that people may experience the joy of the Lord’s coming. John is the model for Joy: “A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to light. He was not the light but came to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.” John the Baptist spent his life as testimony, through humility and asceticism. We will be filled with joy if we too learn how to spend our lives pointing Jesus to one another.   

Let Jesus remove the inner darkness that hinders us from seeing Him and feeling the joy of God’s presence. Let’s celebrate the feast of Christ’s coming with love and thanksgiving.

Fr. Joe